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Artists launch new project to brighten up Spalding's empty windows

People are being invited to share their memories and stories to help create a new art project to brighten up Spalding’s empty shop windows.

Artists Kathleen Smith and Laura Mabbutt, working with community-focused arts programme Transported, will recreate people’s memories and stories into handcrafted pieces of artwork called ‘book nooks’. These are described as ‘a miniature world’ or a model scene on a bookshelf in between books.

For example, Laura turned her passion for working in her allotment into her own miniature world, lovingly crafting a model of her allotment.

Artists Kathleen Smith (left) and Laura Mabbutt (right). (44073952)
Artists Kathleen Smith (left) and Laura Mabbutt (right). (44073952)

Both Kathleen and Laura have worked on previous projects in Spalding with Transported and aim to create a trail of 12 book nooks to sit in shop windows.

At the end of the project the book nooks created will be gifted to those who came up with the ideas if they wish – and they want to hear from you.

Kathleen explained: “As the high street is changing, as more people shop online and the effects of lockdown are affecting businesses, we need to find new ways to bring people into town to socialise and create a community centre.

The allotment book nook, created by Laura Mabbutt, based on her own allotment. (44073956)
The allotment book nook, created by Laura Mabbutt, based on her own allotment. (44073956)

“We also wanted to promote positive stories and create a trail that the community can participate in whilst exercising.

“We are interested in the stories of places and what happened there in the past, and finding stories that aren’t widely known or have been lost. Most places, including Spalding, have stories that are widely known and feature famous people or well known events.We are interested in stories that happen in every day life, that are important to the people that are telling them and are important in understanding Spalding.

“We decided to use book nooks as the project is about telling people’s stories. The book nooks are placed on a bookshelf and tell a story visually unlike the other books there. We also wanted to create objects that are small enough to be gifted to the people that tell us their stories, so they can then keep them on their own bookshelves and include their own story amongst the stories already there.”

The invitation for people to send in their memories or stories to be turned into book nooks is open to adults living in the Spalding area, but they’ll need to send them in by February 7 via the email: transportedart@gmail.com

If you need a helping hand in expressing the story you wish to submit, there is a downloadable PDF on Transported’s website to help document the memory in a variety of fun ways and to help the artists visualize and recraft the memory into a tiny sculpture. It can be found here:www.transportedart.com/projects/current-projects/spalding-stories

It is planned that the artworks will be all installed by the end of March.

Local businesses who would like to be included in the display can also get in touch with Transported via the same email address.

The project is utilising Arts Council England funding as part of South Holland District Council’s initiative to improve Spalding and Holbeach town centres.

Transported director Nick Jones said: “Transported is funded by Arts Council England to find innovative ways of getting people involved and enjoying the arts.

“This project is a fantastic example of how artists bring their imagination and invention to help address real problems facing our communities, and they are doing it by celebrating the people that live there.”

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